"...from a little acorn....."
My neighbor had a problem with a large oak tree in his yard.
Its roots were lifting the back of his cinder block garage.
In a major bad way.
I told him about a trimmer who had brought a trained and experienced team to my yard four years ago and he got in touch with Sonny, the owner.
They discussed the situation and the decision was made to remove the tree.
One limb at a time.
One man in a safety harness up in the tree and quite a few others on the ground, pulling ropes to make things fall - and land softly - where they wanted them to.
When I had had my trees cut back to avoid them rubbing against my roof, it was a major trimming action. This procedure was a total removal.
Multiple chainsaws were roaring as limbs were cut down to size.
Man-in-the-tree was agile and purposeful as he selected which branch to safely hang from as he slimmed down the tree.
Other men, meanwhile, were on the roof of the house, using small chainsaws attached to 9 foot poles.
They were making sure there was clearance all around the house from trees that had grown too close.
I remember that scene from my earlier project with A-Z Tree Service
Men on the ground clipped branches before dragging them over to the large chipper parked in the driveway.
Other hefted large sections of the tree and placed them in a large truck.
Smaller diameter logs were stacked by the house in a growing wood pile for the fireplace.
As the cut section became larger, several men were using massive dollies to move them to the truck to be hauled away.
Meanwhile, the trimming and leveling of the intrusive tree continued.
The tree was diminishing.
Shorter and shorter.
Soon a choice would have to be made on where to place the ropes and safety harness.
Neighbors stood around, watching the action.
I noticed none of the men seemed to be wearing ear protectors against the noisy saw clamor.
Vocal commands were being shouted to bring down the massive limbs with accuracy.
Maybe that precluded covering your ears.
As noted earlier, they functioned as a well-trained professional team.
I wear earplugs at music concerts so I know sound is diminished. Especially, the very high pitch... like that made by a screaming chainsaw.
And, by more than one.
Finally, things began to quiet down.
Fewer saws operating.
The man-in-the-tree was now down on the ground.
Large pieces were strewn about as men cut them down to fit in the truck.
My neighbor was discussing how to best "treat" the stump to make it disappear.
"Drill holes and pour in salt," was suggested. Burning the stump was not an option since it extended under and into the garage itself.
That was the original concern. (Click on the photos for more details.)
Bye, bye former mighty oak.
"..and a roof over my.....car."
My car is getting older.
Seven years ago it was pushed off the showroom floor and I drove it home.
Since then, Saturn stopped making the 2-door Ion model.
(It has two more doors - hidden - with no door handles.)
Surprises people when I open up the entire side of the car (no post between doors) and shove large boxes inside.
Clever design and one reason I bought it.
Then a few years later, Saturn went out of business.
Gone. Pffft. Dealership closed.
When I wanted service, I was told to take it back to where I bought it but now it was a Chevrolet/GM dealer.
I'm sure they trained those guys well to ALSO work on a Saturn if one showed up.
So, my car and I get along fine. It has not needed much attention and I can park it away from bird droppings and tree sap.
But, pulling up under the deck is awkward. Usually only do that if a serious storm is predicted.
Must be a better way to use that cement slab/patio for a long-gone mobile home.
I took down the bird feeder because of what they were doing ON my car.
Then I looked into a steel car port. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted.
The City of Hanahan said I would need a permit and paperwork on how it would be anchored so it would not blow away into a neighbor's yard and cause damage.
I assume they are protecting me from other people's flying sheds and car ports.
Found what I wanted on Rivers Avenue at Leonard Aluminum Utility Buildings, Inc.
Naturally I took a picture of one they had assembled out back.
12 feet wide, 21 feet long and the poles are 5 feet high. Should do it.
You can get the idea even though, when I combined the two pictures, I showed I don't do well matching perspectives. Or relative size.
The slab is 8 feet wide by 20 feet.
Hanahan City Planners will be glad to know it will be held in place with four long Mobile home anchors that screw deep into the ground.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
My free-hand sketch shows it more accurately than my photos.
Proper perspective is better when I draw things.
Guess I'm an artist.
Labels: cement slab, Chevy dealership, feeders for ingrate birds, Inc., Leonard Aluminum Utility Buildings, Saturn Ion
A New Point of View......
Stopped by The Charleston Harbor Fish House
restaurant the other night.
Looks like it's going to make it.
Good crowd, good food and a great new view of the ships on display.
The different viewing angle puts the USS Laffey
in the foreground, in front of the Yorktown.
That's important to remember at twilight because there are TWO masts sticking up in the air.
Not something you would normally see on an aircraft carrier.
Looking across the marsh on a slightly foggy evening is a delight.
Trying to have your dinner in focus too is a challenge.
The cedar plank salmon was delicious, along with seasoned mashed potatoes and sliced grilled veggies.
Well, and a beer as well.
Our hostess said the restaurant opened almost a year ago and, despite a light rain, I went up a flight of stairs to check out the closed deck and patio.
Must be a good place to gather after a Party At The Point
I have attended those Friday events as well as Blues artists performances out behind the Marina Hotel.
Always wondered if they would ever open a restaurant.
The attention to detail is obvious and the well-appointed rooms are open and airy as a harbor view place should be.
When I am in a seafood restaurant here in the Lowcountry, I always look over the menu to see what other options are offered. "Hey, how's the spaghetti?"
I usually come back to meals from the sea.
Years ago I lived in Kansas City, Missouri and a treat was to go to a noted downtown seafood place.
It proudly proclaimed its lobsters were flown in fresh daily.
I assume from Maine.
The Kansas City strip steaks were fine too.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
When visitors ask what I would reccomend they try, I often suggest Shrimp & Grits.
Charleston comfort food.
Labels: cedar plank salmon, Charleston Harbor Fish House restaurant, Fresh lobsters in Missouri, Harbor Marina Hotel, Patriot's Point, USS Laffey destroyer
Stan, Ollie and Chuck....
Thousands will attend the April 7-13, 2014 Masters Golf tournament in Augusta.
I wonder how many realize just a short drive away, in Harlem, GA, is the Laurel & Hardy Museum.
I pass the exit sign twice each time I go to Atlanta for music concerts.
This time, after seeing the Eagles
at Philips Arena on a Monday night, I stopped in Harlem on the drive back to visit "the boys."
Oliver Norvell Hardy, the larger of the two, was born here in 1892
Linda Caldwell, the charming museum director, toured me around.
She pointed out various items in the huge collection of memorabilia from the U.S. and from England, where Stan Laurel was born.
"We have a Friday Movie Night here,"
she gestured around a large room filled with folding chairs.
"We have a copy of ALL their films but usually show just some of the short ones."
Linda pointed out original movie poster cards on the wall and some that were reproductions.
On the first Saturday in October, the 25th annual L&H Festival
drew 35,000 visitors.
More than 300 food stands, arts and crafts and other booths were set up along the main street and around the square.
Linda asked to hold my camera and suggested I hop in the car to take a spin with Stan and Ollie.
Just before she snapped the shutter, I was handed a black bowler hat.
I wanted to be one of the boys so I waved it as we enjoyed riding along on "A Perfect Day," the name of one of their feature films.
There's even a fan in place to create a wind-blown effect if you are shooting a video, Linda added.
Gotta love the business of show.
This particular poster, printed on fine paper, captured the duo in a way that reminded me of a Saturday Evening Post
It had that Norman Rockwell feel.
I'm pretty sure Linda said it was not a cover on that magazine but "the boys" were included in a Fall 1971 issue.
It was amazing to see the array of items that carried the two faces or scenes from their films.
Ollie met his impish co-star by accident when Stan came to America as Charlie Chaplin's stand-in, I was told.
The rest - as they say - is history.
Wandered around for a while, looking at all the displayed faces and figures then realized I should get back on the road home.
Apparently school bus drivers knew their riders schedules and I joined a queue of yellow vehicles in a convoy up to the high school.
They turned off into the home of the Harlem Bulldogs.
Hmm, I would have expected a more imaginative name, like the Harlem Globe Something or other.
Or some tie-in to The Boys.
Or perhaps even Hooters over in Augusta.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
Later, online, I saw that a dancing scene from one of their movies had been dubbed with a Santana song.
This should take you to the link
or you could look it up on YouTube.
You'll have a LOL moment.
The boys were great.
"Another fine mess, Ollie."
Here's a story I received from a former San Diego newspaperman I know who saw this blog.
Joe had left the paper to be a successful ventriloquist and was invited to attend an event for the Way Out West tent of the famed Sons Of The Desert.
Joe performed for Lois, Stan's daughter and for Stan's great grandson. Here's his story:
JOE GANDELMAN writes:
On the Laurel and Hardy museum, I have story to tell about "the boys" and those who remember them. In the late 90s I was contacted by the "Way out West" tent of the Sons of the Desert, the mock fraternal group started in honor of them using the title of Sons of the Desert, one of their best received movies. They asked if I'd do a short presentation and they couldn't pay but I'd be their guest at dinner. Since I once had a L&H autograph (one of many things sold to finance my ventriloquism/show biz switch from daily newspapers) and (then) had VHS tapes of many of their movies, and had studied the GREAT L&H silents when I was in high school, I jumped at the chance.
I was going to do a short bit with my main character and maybe one or two more. About two nights later I woke up with a song lyric and sat down and within about three minutes (it came out of the blue this never happened again) wrote a lyric honoring them to the tune of Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen. I then found I could order the karaoke with the music. It was a poignant lyric and even fitted in Jimmy Finlayson and some other things about them...perhaps a bit corny but really fit.
Anyway, when I got there I did the bit and they were very receptive. The main dummy would make some comments flirting with this older woman in front whose eyes were popping out of her head she was so fascinated. I only later learned it was Stan Laurel's daughter Lois.
I then did my lip sync where I get people up, they put on ratty wigs and lip sync Tutti Frutti. Before I arrived I had the bright idea: why not have them wear hats like Laurel and Hardy? No one would think of that! Of course when I got there some did have those hats including the great Chuck McCann who did is Oliver Hardy as another comedian did Stan Laurel in an act after mine.
When I got the volunteers up, one who looked about 17 or 18 took the hat and looked at the audience which started to roar. Then he put it on and they laughed harder. I later learned he was Stan Laurel's great grandson. (I should have known: he resembled photos of the very young Laurel).
I sat a table with the then-elderly woman who was the little girl in the Little Rascals fire engine wooed by a rich kid and a member of the gang. "Whitey" from the Bowery Boys was there. At my table there was on woman who had incredible pizzazz, and we talked about a lot of things. When we talked about early cartoons I told her how much I had liked the very much pioneering Crusader Rabbit as a tiny kid. Turns out she HAD BEEN the voice of Crusader Rabbit.
And then I saw Tommy "Butch Bond" who was the original Butch in The Little Rascals. I and told him he was my favorite kid actor -- and realized I had seen his work only as a kid via TV when he was already an adult. He told me, "I loved what you did. You keep on doing what you're doing!" Several years later I was at the swap meet. This was when they released the restored Little Rascals on VHS tapes. There was a booth with an even older Tommy Butch Bond with a sign: "The Original Butch Autographs $5" Years later when he passed I learned that his wife died so he moved in with his son who was in San Diego County (or so I was told). I told him I had met him at the Sons of the Desert. "Yes -- and I hope you still doing what you were doing!" (A side tidbit he was the producer for ventriloquist Paul Winchell's metromedia show and really found Winchell a pain. In his book he details how an official made sure he got the news first about Winchell's cancellation as a kind of "gift.")
I need to add that I still watch and study Laurel and Hardy. A GREAT set is now out of their restored shorts. These include a few that were dubbed in Spanish, French and Italian. In the early days they hadn't moved to dubbing so Hal Roach would refilm it, using native speakers in key roles when he could. I'm told their accents were awful in Spanish but they did the lines well and those shorts remain highly popular.
I don't put my demo on this list but for those interested in the lip sync I did with Stan Laurel's great grandson a version of it is on this 2001 demo (which starts out with my bit on NBC's Spy TV).
And a footnote: at that Way out West meeting: they took us on a tour of the places where movies such as The Music Box (the stairway) and Big Business (where they destroyed a house) were filmed, as well as the Culver City streets and hotel where some scenes were shot. The person who invited me explained that they figured this would be one of the last chances to do this -- because all of these people were quickly dying off. The groups still operate -- people come out at meetings to watch viewings of the sound and silent movies and maybe have a guest speaker -- but there are fewer. At that time there was one in San Diego, but I don't know if it still exists. I'm sure the Culver City one still does.
Labels: A Perfect Day, another fine mess, Harlem Georgia, Joe Gandleman, L&H Festival, Linda Caldwell, Stan and Ollie, Swiss Miss, The Harlem high school Bulldogs, The Laurel & Hardy Museum
Where Eagles Soar....
Don Henley was one of the founders of The Eagles
Still in fine voice and quite the showman, along with his bandmates.
I drove over to Atlanta for a concert and a night in the big city.
No trace of snow or ice!
A 3-hour show, including three encores. Yikes.
Last time I saw them was at the Charleston Coliseum.
That also was a sell-out audience.
This evening at the Phillips Arena was a recounting of the History of The Eagles.
Beautiful production with great lighting and sound.
Well worth the drive...and expensive tickets for seats on the floor.
One, then two performers came into the spotlight as the show opened.
More came on stage, added as the history was told of the early activities in the 70s.
Successful albums and a hit single plucked from one that sailed to the top of the charts.
Loved hearing the growth stages they went through... and the 14-year "breakup" before they got back together.
As I said, the singing - and the harmony - was fantastic.
Timothy B. Schmit
is featured on guitar as Henley pounds on drums, a role he performed quite often during the night.
Arena security forces were a bit much through most of the concert.
They finally eased toward the end when cellphones appeared and the audience was in a glorious, joyful mood, standing, singing, clapping and dancing.
Camera-banning enforcement did stymie my attempt to get a shot of Joe Walsh performing "Life's Been Good."
Check the link though to share the moment.
The final bow is not very good quality but it was a grab shot blown up from a wide-angle frame.
L-R are Bernie Leadon, Schmit, Glenn Frey, Henley (checkered shirt) and Joe Walsh.
Quite a history.
Quite a band.
Quite a night.
There were magic moments when all of the principals were on stage and scenic backgrounds were projected.
The lighting effects were extremely effective and added a huge element to the show.
Thanks were expressed by Don Henley at the end, to the audience, to Atlanta and the "the hundred people responsible for tearing down, transporting and re-assembling the set at every city on the tour."
Hey, I'll add my thanks too for a wonderful evening.
(Click on the photos for details.)
I guess Security does what it's told to do.
Evil cameras and cell phones.
Labels: Bernie Leadon, Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Life's Been Good To Me. Joe Walsh, The Eagles, Timothy B. Schmit
"Than kew, than kew very much..."
It's called Third Thursday
Stores downtown stay open later, vendors set up stands, entertainment is provided and a sense of community is fostered.
Some members of my Photography Group proposed a Sidewalk Photo Walk last Thursday.
I showed up because I heard Elvis would be there.
As I walked up Short Central (by the city parking garage) I heard "Love Me Tender"
booming out loud and clear.
The King was there. It sounded like Elvis and the sideburns looked right.
Well, the belt buckle would help some younger folks identify the singer who was 42 when he died August 16, 1977.
I chatted with "Elvis" Larry Wiley, Director of Clinical Services for Floyd Brace, when he took a break from his karaoke machine and microphone.
"As an Elvis fan and impersonator, I was impressed by an excellent tribute performer in Las Vegas,"
Larry told me.
He said he congratulated the man and mentioned he was with an orthotics and prosthetics company in South Carolina.
The Vegas Elvis stated he had lost both legs and was proudly standing there as testimony that people are not handicapped by a loss of limbs.
Later, eating chicken parm on the front patio of Alessandras
, others in the group told me more about Larry and his family.
He was well-known in the community as a good guy who performs as Elvis at hospital, Senior Centers and nursing homes.
"His wife made that outfit,"
I was told.
I believe the Photo Group
will make Third Thursday - and Second Sunday downtown on King Street - a standing invitation to grab your camera and come out and join the fun.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
As we finished dinner, I saw Larry carrying speakers to his truck.
I shouted "Elvis has left the building."
He smiled and waved.
Labels: CP., Elvis, Floyd Brace, impersonator, Larry L. Wiley, Love Me Tender, Second Sunday, Summerville Third Thursday, tribute performer
"Give The People What They Want!"
Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings
are back. And, they're better than ever.
The Music Farm was packed - on a Monday night - to welcome Sharon back onstage from her battle with cancer.
Radiation treatments may have taken her hair but her energy and honest Soul Power has not been diminished.
Wow. I broke a sweat just watching her move around that stage.
The Dap-Kings American funk & soul band backed her dynamic performance as she showed she has NOT lost her groove, rhythm, feeling and explosive power.
Last year, just before release of their 5th studio record, "Give the people what they want,"
cancer was diagnosed.
Instead of worldwide touring, it was hospitals and doctors.
But now she looks great, sounds great and keeps moving.
Yes, she kicked off her shoes. It's a trademark.
She leaned from the stage to tousle the hair of fans in the front row then rubbed her head and laughed.
She paced across the stage, back and forth.
Coming to the front, she'd pick out a member of the crowd and seem to sing to him or her.
Glides and hops.
Over by the 3-man horn section...smiling at the Conga player...sailing to the edge.
I had found a spot by the stairs to the balcony and held on to it for the entire hour and a half show and encores.
Obviously Sharon was glad to be back. Enjoying being onstage again.
The crowd gave its love and she gave it back.
She says that's what got her through the medical ordeal - performing for her fans.
I had been down in front of the stage the last time I saw her at The Farm.
That night she invited some of the ladies to come up on stage and dance with her.
This night she selected two men from the audience. Both had lots of hair!
The first young man whipped out his phone and took a few "selfies" with Sharon.
Then, the lead guitar stepped over and photo bombed one of the shots by sticking his face in between them.
The second fellow was a "Mountain Man." Huge guy. He was easily half again as tall as Sharon but quick on his feet as they danced together. Funky.
The crowd loved it.
The first man climbed down off the stage, this man just stepped down. Yikes.
As Sharon left the stage after her encore, she tried to touch as many people as she could.
Yes, she was back.
And we're glad.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
The link should let you listen to tracks from the new album.
Glad to see her back in front of the crowd.
Labels: a great Monday night crowd, hospitals & doctors, Mountain Man, selfie, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, The Music Farm, worldwide tour
Lyme? No, it's called Mynt.
Of course the couch is a mint green color.
Your eye goes right to it when you pass by the front window or as you enter.
A Pee Wee Herman
piece of furniture?
No, not really but it was my first time to Mynt
so I asked a lot of questions.
It's a bar and nightclub - a place to dance - for young professionals.
Robert (Bob) the bartender said it's been open on Calhoun Street "almost two years."
I asked what was there before and he thought it was an office supply or copier store.
Admittedly, I was there fairly early so the late night crowd had not drifted in.
I was checking it out before the Sharon Jones
show over at the Music Farm.
Affable Bob let me sample a draft I had not tried before. I liked it and had him bring over a pint as I studied the menu.
"Small problem," he said as he set down a half-filled glass.
"It's probably just a gas thing I need to adjust but I'll top it off when I get it working right," he explained.
So my challenge was to drink quickly.
Walked around the place after I ordered my Philly Steak sandwich with thin fries. Lots of very large pictures of celebrities all around the room.
I'm not a young professional any more but I spotted a few I recognized.
Then I had a Charleston Bill Murray Encounter
Well, an enlarged photo of Mr. Murray, dapper in a fedora and open collared shirt.
I liked the lighting on all of the portraits on display.
In fact, the entire room was wide-open and comfortable.
Bright and colorful, lots of dark wood and a lighted bar top.
I'm sure the young dancers flock there.
It's been a long time since I was a young dancer. Or even an older one.
I asked if Murray had dropped by?
"Not yet, " Bob answered, "that's kind of what we hoped would happen when we put up his picture."
The Philly was very tasty and I had a second beer after my first one was topped off.
My timing was good - that sandwich had just been added to the menu.
And I like skinny fries.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
And hit the link to the club for some really nice pictures. Some were taken with a "real" Fish Eye lens.
Oh, and look at the Pee Wee's Playhouse link.
Check out HIS furniture.
Labels: a Bill Murray Encounter, Bob the Bartender., Mynt Bar and Nightclub, Philly Steak sandwich, skinny French fries, young professionals
"Here comes the sun...."
We saw that fiery bright white light in the sky this morning.
Been quite a few days since we've seen it.
Natives call it "the Sun." or "The Anti-Ice."
Our big 8-lane bridge has been closed for THREE days because of ice.
Not on the roadway - they used a salt slurry to clear that - but ice formed on the cables that hold the dang thing up.
Who figured that they would freeze in an ice storm?
Or planned that they NOT freeze?
The Ravenel Bridge.
Frozen and closed. Twice in two weeks. For several days at a time.
The first time, they allowed cars back on the bridge (too soon, in hindsight) and eight were hit by falling "ice bombs."
Several windshields were smashed but no serious injuries as cars darted and scurried across before it was quickly closed again.
Texting by drivers was seriously interrupted.
This time when the ice formed on the cables, it was even thicker and didn't shatter when it thawed and hit the ground.
Heavier and more dangerous than before.
The bridge opened in 2005 and this is the first ice storm to hit.
And then, another one two weeks later.
Whoever comes up with a solution to keep the ice from forming will make a lot of money!
So, the bridge re-opened today and traffic congestion-weary drivers were all over it.
Oh, and here's another happy moment for Valentine's Day I just found online.
A Jonathan Winters clip from the old Jack Paar Show. Smile and enjoy!
Robin Williams was NOT his son but he was a huge admirer.
(Click on my photos for more detail.)
A day without sunshine....
Labels: a day without sunshine, frozen bridge cables, get over it., ice bombs, Jack Paar, Jonathan Winters with a stick, Mork & Mindy, Robin Williams, texting, traffic congestion
Dear Cousins in Chicago.....
The polite Canadians, tired of being cursed each winter, have identified Chicago as the real Icy Northern invader. The weather troublemaker. Chi-Town, home of the Polar Vortex.
"Windy City" should have been a clue. An extremely COLD wind that heads south to freeze and burst pipes and cause cars to slip and slide off the road.
Oh, the hardships here in Charleston
I have had to leave a faucet dripping. For three nights!
Finally found a heavy jacket way, way in the back of a closet but, it's so old, it's too small
My gloves have moth holes in the fingers. I bought my first ever gallon of windshield washer fluid. It's a bright blue color.
Heated car seats don't seem quite so silly now. Sand sprinkled on a bridge here made my car look dirty.
Another eternity (a day and a half) of winter horror is predicted.
Schools here have shut down because of "Some Pretty Chilly Days."
The heavily traveled Ravenel Bridge was closed several hours after cars had to dodge falling ice chunks that were melting from the cables.
Who knew bridge cables would freeze?
THE Charleston City snow plow was attached to the front of a large pick up truck "just in case."
Will Winter ever end?!
(Click on the photo for more frigid details.)
Oh, I just heard. Temps will be in the mid-70s at Folly Beach by the weekend.
I hope we can last that long!
Labels: Brrrr, Canadian cold front, Chicago, harsh Winter, the city snow plow